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What happens if you take Tasigna with food?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on April 18, 2023.

Official answer


If you take Tasigna with food, it may increase the absorption of the medicine into your blood and may increase your chances for a serious abnormal heart rhythm (called a QTc prolongation) that could lead to sudden death.

Do not eat any food for at least 2 hours before your dose and for at least 1 hour after your dose is taken. Swallow the capsules whole with water. You may drink water while you are not eating, before or after taking Tasigna. Your Tasigna dose is taken twice a day, 12 hours apart.

Grapefruit may also increase the amount of Tasigna in your blood. Avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and any supplement containing grapefruit extract while taking Tasigna.

Call your doctor right away if you feel lightheaded, dizzy, faint, or have an irregular heartbeat (heart palpitations) while taking Tasigna. These can be symptoms of QTc prolongation.

Your doctor will check the electrical activity of your heart. This is done using a test called an electrocardiogram (ECG). Your heart will be checked before you start treatment, 7 days after starting treatment, with any dose changes, and regularly during treatment with Tasigna.

Tasigna also has many drug interactions with medicines and supplements which can increase your risk for serious or possibly deadly side effects. You should avoid taking other medicines or supplements with Tasigna that can also cause QTc prolongation. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of the medicines you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

Related: Tasigna Drug Interactions (in more detail)

Do not take any other medicine during treatment with Tasigna unless your healthcare provider tells you it is okay to do so. Take your medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not change your dose or stop treatment unless directed to do this by your healthcare provider.

If you cannot swallow Tasigna capsules whole, you may open the capsule and sprinkle the contents of each capsule in 1 teaspoon of applesauce (puréed apple). Swallow the mixture right away (within 15 minutes).

Tasigna (nilotinib) is a prescription medicine approved by the FDA to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (a type of blood and bone marrow cancer), specifically: Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML).

This is not all the information you need to know about Tasigna (nilotinib) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Tasigna information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

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